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Hot Hands Park Centre resident keeps busy making potato pouches, oven mits and other fabric kitchenware


Senior Lifestyles:: Thursday, October 24, 2013 – Page 2

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Senior Lifestyles • Thursday, October 24, 2013 – Page 3

Volunteer Work

Congregational UCC member gives his time to assist Standing Rock Indian Reservation Page 5

Getting Creative

Park Centre resident stays active making pot holders, oven mits Page 7

Community Betterment At 95, Jasper County attorney continues investing time in community Page 9

Still Strong

90-year-old woman enjoys exercising regularly at the YMCA Page 10


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Senior Lifestyles • Thursday, October 24, 2013 – Page 5

Van Drimmelen forges bonds with Native Americans while doing volunteer work By Ty Rushing Daily News Staff Writer Bob Van Drimmelen hasn’t let age slow him down, even in his 80s. He is trying to make a difference in the world. Once a year, Bob and members of the Congregational United Church of Christ in Newton and other volunteers take a trip to Standing Rock Indian Reservation in South Dakota for volunteer work. “About 22 years ago, the church — I wasn’t able to go up with the originals— would go up each year for a week and work on the parsonage or the church or whatever needed to be done for

repairs,” Bob said. “Roofing, we did everything. We continued that, and the group kept getting smaller and smaller — old age.” The group’s aging eventually began to affect their work. “Here’s a party of four: two of them would be having to hold the step ladder, and the wife is standing down ready to catch him if he fell off. We decided that we couldn’t keep that up anymore,” Bob said. B o b said the

group asked themselves “What can we do?” to make a difference as their age began to hinder them, and the solution came from Ladonna Brave Bull, the director of tribal tourism for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “My daughter ended up talking to (Ladonna),” Bob said. “She thought it over, and she says, ‘Well, we need people to teach the children. They don’t know who they are.’ Their heritage, a lot of it has been lost. This was principally because the (Board of Indian Affairs) decided they were going to turn the Indians into white people.” “There were about two generations lost,” he continued. “Literally about two generations of the heritage, the history, and the stuff from their tribe was lost. That’s when Ladonna says, ‘We need to teach these kids who they are.’” Bob’s daughter, Deb Woolridge, a former assistant adjunct professor at Coe College, and Ladonna devised a plan to teach the children of the tribe about their culture, history and heritage. Using stu-

Bob Van Drimmelen enjoys volunteer work on indian reservation.

dents from the college and Bob’s UCC group, they spent five days teaching the youth of the reservation about their lost culture. “This past year was kind of the trial run,” Bob said. “We were teaching the kids about their faith and the Christian faith, because the two are so parallel. Then it’s up to the kids. We aren’t going to ram it at them. We teach them enough to the point where they can go, ‘Yeah I want to practice the Christian faith or be Lakota.’” Bob said the week had more of a summer camp feel versus that of a Bible camp. In addition to teaching them about their faith, they taught the kids how to craft some of the tribe’s items. They split the classes up into children who were older than 5 and those who were younger than 5 to accommodate the learning curve. “It went pretty good,” Bob said. “My daughter had taught them some of their symbols and what they meant and how it would be painted on their tipi and stuff like that. Then she had them make a war shield. She said a lot of those kids painted the symbols she had taught them correctly.” While it may seem like simple arts and crafts to an outsider, Bob clarified the intent of the trips. “What we are trying to do is help the Lakota save their culture,” Bob said. Bob loves the work he has done on the reservation and is even more thrilled with the bonds he has forged. “A few years back, another (member of the tribe) — he’s a minister on the res — said I was his brother,” Bob said. “Now, that is a big honor. When they get to know you, it’s a tremendous sense of honor.” Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at trushing@ newtondailynews.com.


Senior Lifestyles:: Thursday, October 24, 2013 – Page 6

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Hot Hands

Senior Lifestyles • Thursday, October 24, 2013 – Page 7

Newton senior makes pot holders, oven mits By Dave Hon Daily News Staff Writer The only difference between Joan Schnobelen and her identical twin sister is Schnobelen is prettier and smarter. At least according to Schnobelen. Schnobelen, most known in Newton for her potato pouches and other fabric kitchenware, didn’t always reside in Newton. Schnobelen has been making the potato pouches since 2004, and estimates that she’s made more than 13,000 of them. She has made 8,000 other products including corn pouches, oven mits, small purses and curling iron pouches for travel. Her closet is filled with her products and she sells them all around the state. She uses her computer to make the instructions on how to use the products safely in the microwave. Her sister, who lives in Oklahoma, also makes the products. All of her products are sold at Pappy’s Antique Store. Schnobelen has a new product she’ll be rolling out soon. She’s currently developing a bag to hold bananas in the refrigerator and believes they will be a popular item. “I don’t really like bananas, but a lot of people do,” she said, “and one of their complaints is that

“There’s lots of things to do here, and I still can drive, so I get out and go places and travel a little bit, if you call traveling going to Des Moines.” — Park Centre resident Joan Schnobelen, who stays active making potato pouches and other fabric kitchenware

the bananas don’t last long enough.” The 82-year-old widow has lived in Park Centre for six months and said that settling in hasn’t really been difficult since she knows so many people that already lived there. When she first moved to Newton from Iowa City with her husband, who worked for Maytag, she saw some differences between the two towns. SCHNOBELEN See Page 11

Dave Hon/Daily News Park Centre resident Joan Schnobelen estimates she has made more than 13,000 potato pouches and 8,000 other products, such as oven mits, small purses and curling iron pouches, since 2004.


Senior Lifestyles:: Thursday, October 24, 2013 – Page 8

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Senior Lifestyles • Thursday, October 24, 2013 – Page 9

Matthew Nosco/Daily News August H. Luthens, chairman of the Colfax Community Chest, presents a check to Theresa Berriman, member of the board of directors of the Colfax-Mingo Area Food Pantry, in August. At 95, Luthens remains very active in his community.

At 95, Luthens has no plans to slow down By Matthew Nosco Daily News Staff Writer August Luthens, a Jasper County attorney and philanthropist, has no intention of slowing down until his body forces him to. “As long as I still have my health, there’s no reason to stop,” August said. “At 95, maybe I’ll take a break. I think I’ll have earned it by then.” By that standard, August has an-

other 15 years of law and community service ahead of him, all of which he looks forward to. He attended Drake University where he played varsity football and majored in high school teaching. In 1955, he married Suzanne Olls, and the pair graduated from the university. They started their family, having three living children, and August started his career with a position at an insurance company in Des Moines

where he served as legal counsel, national claim manager and eventually the director of commercial underwriting and product development. While he worked and helped to raise his children, August continued his education and he was able to graduate from Drake University Law School in 1969. Thirteen years later, in 1982, August heard about an attorney in Colfax, Mike Trier, who became a judge

and wanted to sell his practice. August knew it would be a good opportunity for him, so he took over the law offices. August practiced more general law for a short time, but the adapting field forced specialization and he chose to work with estates, trusts, probate, taxation and real estate law. LUTHENS See Page 11


Senior Lifestyles • Thursday, October 24, 2013 – Page 10

90 years young and still going strong By Kate Malott Daily News Staff Writer In February, longtime Newton resident Wilma Grout turned 90 years old. “It’s no different than what it felt like 30 years ago,” Wilma said about being 90. “In fact, I feel really good. I don’t have an ache or a pain. I feel real good all the time, and I don’t even run out of energy.” On the day of her 90th birthday, Wilma had friends over from the YMCA as well as her daughter for cake, ice cream and piano. Later that day, her daughter had her over for dinner in Des Moines and the entire family was able to attend from around the country. “We really celebrated,” Wilma said. “It’s so nice to have all the family together.” The daughter of Opie and Bertha Walker, Wilma grew up in Newburg and attended school there. During the winter, she rode in a horse-drawn sleigh to school that sometimes took up to two hours to go eight miles because of the snow. Wilma has lived in Newton for more than 60 years now. She met her husband, Al Grout, at a church in Des Moines shortly after his return home from WWII. They married and moved to Charles City, but soon after, they moved home to Newton, where Al took over her father’s insurance business. Wilma and Al, who passed away in 2008, had three children: Janet, Carolyn, and Allan. Wilma was a stay-athome mom. She was able to cook for the family, clean the house and greet everyone when they returned home from school or work. “(Al and I) both preferred it this way,” Wilma said about staying at home. “Although it means economizing a little bit more, I felt it was worth staying home and spending time with the kids. We have a closeness between us and it’s paid off. They’re very helpful today. You couldn’t ask for any nicer children than what we had.”

Wilma, Al and their children went on a long trip every year during the summer because of their love for traveling as a family. In fact, the family has been to every state in the United States except Hawaii and Maine. Family continues to be the pride of Wilma’s life. Just like her own children, she’s always been close with her grandchildren. She has a tremendous amount of affection and joy when recalling the days of having the grandchildren over on weekends. “They got so use to coming down here, they still wanted to come. One day, they said something I don’t think I’ll ever forget. One of the twins, he says, ‘Grandma, would you care if we come stay all night with you one more night before we start college in the fall?’ And it really warmed heart to think that they enjoyed coming to our home so much that they wanted to have one more memory of it.” Wilma is also a woman of many hobbies and interest. She loves to spend time at home reading, or out as a photographer. She’s fond of her garden, cooking and baking. She likes working out at the YMCA and going to church functions. In 1971, Wilma joined the Newton YMCA for her daughter’s wedding and she enjoyed it so much that she has continued to go every week since. “I’m benefitting from it so much and doctors tell me that’s why I’m in such perfect condition today is because of my exercise.” Wilma leaves the house about 8 a.m. and doesn’t get home until noon. She has a daily routine that involves walking, balance exercise and water aerobics. “The girls are real friendly there. They’re like another family to me,” Wilma said. “They realize that I’m a lot older than them, but they treat me just like I was one of them, and I feel really just as much a part of them as can be. Age doesn’t make that much a difference really.” GROUT See Page 11

Kate Malott/Daily News Wilma Grout stands in her kitchen with a book called “Footprints of an American Soldier: The World War II Experiences of Alva L. Grout.” The book was written by her grandson Chris with the help of a historian and Wilma’s own knowledge about her husband’s time in the war. Chris gave everyone in his family a copy of the book for Christmas as a surprise.


Senior Lifestyles • Thursday, October 24, 2013 – Page 11

Schnobelen Continued from Page 7 “Newton was a manufacturing town, and Iowa City was a university town, so there were some differences between the people that lived there in either place,” she said. “It’s not that they’re better than the other. They’re just different people.” Even after Maytag left, Schnobelen considers Newton a manufacturing town and she commends the town’s efforts at revitalizing itself. Since moving to Park Centre, she doesn’t get the chance to use her potato pouches, but she did for years. Now she is glad to have several things taken care of for her including cooking and yard work. “I just got in the routine,” Schnobelen said. “There’s lots of things to do here, and I still can drive, so I get out and go places and travel a little bit, if you call traveling going to Des Moines.” She does find the time to visit her

children, grandchildren and great children out west in Washington and Idaho. “I just make the rounds,” Schnobelen said. Schnobelen said it’s not strange anymore being apart from her twin because they’ve been apart for quite a while, but still finds the time to go visit her every three months. “It’s only seven hours away so it’s not that bad,” she said. She said having an identical was a fun experience growing up and that if they were together now, it would be hard to tell them apart, even down to their style of hair. Schnobelen said that “We could pick on our little brother,” Schnobelen said. “Sometimes we’d buy the same clothes even being apart.” Realistically, Schnobelen couldn’t name a single difference between the two of them. Staff writer Dave Hon may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at dhon@newtondailynews.com.

Coming Next Week!

Luthens Continued from Page 9 August lives and practices in the Des Moines area as well, but he has seen the value in the Colfax community. During his more than 30 years in the town, he has continued to invest his time, energy and money into the area. He served as the president of the Colfax Chamber of Commerce, the precursor to Colfax’s current Main Street program. August is also the director of the Colfax Community Chest and helps

raise funds for area organizations, emphasizing reading for elementary schoolage children through the library summer program and the local PTA. “Our emphasis is helping young people read. We also support the food pantry, but we like to focus on reading programs,” August said. “The basis of having a well-rounded life is the ability to read and without that, you’re not going anywhere. Helping young people get an early start is extremely important.” For now, August intends to keep working with the Com-

Grout Continued from Page 10

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munity Chest and practicing law both in Colfax and in Des Moines. For him, the law is a continuously evolving practice that affords him the opportunity to learn something new each and every day, appealing to the eternal student inside of him. It’s also a legacy that he has passed on to his son Erik, who practices with him, and to his daughter Sarah, who is an attorney in Seattle, Wash. Staff writer Matt Nosco may be contacted at (515) 674-3591 or at mnosco@newtondailynews. com.

Al to revisit those battle locations that he once knew so well. They went to Normandy, Omaha Beach and even to Germany where the Battle of the Bulge took place. The journey was Al’s idea and the couple went for two weeks. Wilma said the two week journey was healing for Al. Wilma has lived a loving life as a daughter, mother and wife, but she hasn’t slowed down. Her love for exercise at the YMCA and attending church is as strong as ever. “Time goes by fast,” she said. “I’ve never let anything bother me much, just taking life just as it comes. I think there’s a lot toward your attitude in life, how you look at things and how you want to look at it that helps you not get any older than you have to.”

This winter, Wilma will be participating in balance classes at Skiff Medical Center in her continual effort to maintain her health and wellness. Wilma is also a loyal attendant of the First United Methodist Church in downtown Newton for more than 50 years. She’s an attendant almost every Sunday unless she’s out of town. Each month, a group of women at the church get together for lunch, a program and fellowship, which Wilma enjoys. They call themselves the United Methodist Women. One of Wilma’s greatest memories was when she and her husband went on a two week vacation to Europe in 1994. The trip was Staff writer Kate Malott may be confor the 50th anniversary of D-Day tacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 422, or at and the purpose of the trip was for kmalott@newtondailynews.com.


Senior Lifestyles:: Thursday, October 24, 2013 – Page 12

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